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SA entries moving up Dakar log

2012-01-04 11:36

2009 Dakar champion Giniel de Villiers is closing the gap to the race leaders with a fourth-place finish on the third stage of the Dakar Rally in Argentina on Tuesday - which makes him third overall.

Dakar 2012 gallery

De Villiers and co-driver Dirk Von Zitzewitz completed the 208km third leg from San Rafael and San Juan in 2hr28min24, finishing 1min33 behind stage winner Joan Roma of Spain, making them only 1min40 behind overall race leader Krzysztof Holowczyc of Poland.

Meanwhile, the South African pairing of Duncan Vos and Robert Howie finished 14th in the stage and climbed five places to 13th overall.

THIRD AMONG RWD'S

Despite being slowed by two punctures, the other all-SA combination of Mark Corbett and Francois Jordaan also continued to hold their own. Corbett and Jordaan finished 22nd on stage three after losing 10 minutes to the leaders but held on to 18th overall, falling one place in the standings.

They were third in the two-wheel cars division.

"We were going well when we realised we had a slow puncture," said Jordaan, the Century Racing team's co-driver. "We tried to carry on by employing the onboard tyre inflation device but it didn't work and we had to stop to change the wheel.

"Then we had a second puncture and had to stop again. Both of the buggies passed us but we are not too concerned. There is still a long way to go and so far we're feeling very good about our progress.

"Mark is coming to grips with his first Dakar and is doing a great job."

OTHER RIDERS

Darryl Curtis was the leading South African in the bikes category, lying 49th overall after finishing 70th on stage three.

The three other SA riders in the race - Iain Stevenson, Greg Raaf and Neil Scott-Williams - were all well outside the top 100 overall.

Wednesday's stage four will cover 326km from San Juan to Chilecito.